I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit since High School. I did pressure washing around Atlanta and I suppose that was the first time I started my own company. Me and my friend Taylor made business cards and flyers and would pressure wash peoples driveways, tennis courts, pools etc. In college it grew to starting a pearl company called HMH pearls and importing them from China and doing trunk shows and direct to consumer via the web. From there I took it up a level and began doing cashmere.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them? I had no idea how to make clothing and I never went to school for it. I just had to keep asking people and the internet for help and was persistent. I looked at figuring this out as a giant puzzle and eventually I did and I've never looked back. That was definitely the most significant hurdle because without production I wouldn't have a company. So I got really good at it as quickly as I could and I started managing other peoples productions in order to pay the bills and also learn more about the craft.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight? Yes, I have many times over different scenarios. I started this business with one of my best friends and he was about 7 years younger than me ( I am 31) so there was a difference in the maturity level and just general outlook on life. He didn't display himself or the company in a positive light for the brand so we always had a lot of contention as he was in college and partying a lot. Unfortunately, we had to shift his role to be more in the back ground and we are no longer friends because of that, and I miss him honestly. If I had a second chance at that I would put myself in his shoes much more often and place more value on maintaining that friendship. I regret how everything played out, but the decision was what was best for the business. Sometimes we have to make tough choices like this and realize it's business and not personal.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success? Asking other people for help when I need it.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I made a lot of expensive mistakes when I was first starting because I didn't understand fabric and production and all the variables at play. I wish I had understood that it's a marathon and not a sprint and I would've saved a lot of money instead of making expensive mistakes.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Be patient, Be kind and don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. You will be surprised at how willingly people are to give a hand to people as their up and coming - because everyone was in those shoes at one point.